We dream of a future when all the electronic devices and appliances in our daily lives are able to communicate with each other in order to improve our lifestyle, and efficiency. We already know about really cool devices like scanners that tell us what food that we have in the fridge, remote controls that automatically open the garage door when we reach the driveway, lights that turn on and off when we walk by, and coffee machines that start brewing just before we wake up.
But let’s move this to another level. Imagine a world where all electronic devices spontaneously synchronize with each other to help you manage your life, to consult, to transact, to travel, to do business, or to share an idea. Where you can have instant, automatic access to all your personal and business information, wherever you are, whenever you want. Where you can access your e-mail and the Internet from anywhere. Where you are able to instantly network with airlines, hotels, theatres, retail stores and restaurants for automatic check-in, meal selection, purchases and electronic payment right from your living room. You will have a Personal Area Network that serves all of your needs. When you think of it, you are linked to it.
We are entering a new era where full wireless connectivity is at our fingertips. Just like the Internet made it possible to connect all the computers of the world, we can connect all the appliances, devices, and computers in our everyday life. Everything is going to be connected. Plus, you can use it at home, at work, in your car, at the airport, virtually anywhere anytime, without the high cost, sophisticated networks, cables, etc.
Okay, so this all sounds really great, and you hear about this all the time. But what will make it all work? Well, some people think that the answer is a new technology called Bluetooth.
What is Bluetooth?
Well, in its most basic form, it’s just wireless communication. Where cables now connect many devices, a wireless Bluetooth connection provides low-cost wireless communications and networking between appliances, PCs, mobile phones and just about any other electronic device that you have. This will enable total connectivity to the Internet and other devices, anytime, anywhere.
More specifically, Bluetooth technology embeds tiny, inexpensive, short-range transceivers into devices. The short-range communications standard allows wireless data communications at ranges of about 35 feet (10 meters), and it operates on the globally-available unlicensed radio band, 2.45 GHz, supporting data speeds of up to 721 Kbps on three voice channels.
Bluetooth’s main strength is its ability to simultaneously handle both voice and data transmissions. It’s capable of supporting one asynchronous data channel and up to three synchronous voice channels, or one channel supporting both voice and data.This combination allows such innovative solutions such as a mobile hands-free headset for voice calls, print to fax capability, and automatically synchronizing PDA, laptop, and cell phone address book applications.
Who created Bluetooth?
In early 1998 a group of computer and telecommunications industry leaders, including Intel, IBM, Toshiba, Ericsson, and Nokia, began developing a way for users to connect a wide range of mobile devices quickly and easily, without cables. To ensure that this technology is seamlessly implemented in a diverse range of devices, these leaders formed a special interest group in order to design a royalty-free, open specification technology, code named “Bluetooth.”, which comes from the tenth century Scandinavian king, Harald Bluetooth. The Bluetooth SIG quickly gained membership from companies such as 3COM/Palm, Axis Communication, Compaq, Dell, Lucent Technologies UK Limited, Motorola, Qualcomm, Xircom and they encourage other companies to offer products that take advantage of a standardized, wireless means of connection.
Bluetooth is a built-in feature in more than 100 million mobile phones in several million other communication devices, ranging from headsets and portable PC’s to desktop computers and notebooks. Research firm Dataquest forecasts that the number of Bluetooth-enabled devices will continue to grow in the future.
How can you use Bluetooth?
- An alarm notifies you when you moving away from your wallet, your keys, or your children.
- Your mobile phone allows you to send pictures and video, instantly to anyone, anywhere in the world.
- Your computer morphs from business to personal as you enter your home. An electronic bulletin board in your house automatically adds your scheduled activities to the family calendar, and alerts you of any conflicts.
- At the grocery store, you have preloaded your preferences for various food products into your PDA. As you walk through the isles, your PDA detects other Bluetooth PDAs and exchanges prices and preference information, and tells you about the best deals in the store. Plus, you can even download the latest coupons for your favorite products.
- You arrive at the movie theater to find a long line at the ticket counter. Using your Bluetooth technology PDA, you can confirm and pay for your tickets, avoid the long line, enter the theater, and take your preferred seat.
- As you enter a restaurant, you are handed a Bluetooth device which allows you to send messages, and communicate with others in the bar, to order and pay for food and beverage, and to participate in games such as Trivia and Clue.
- At the airport, you can avoid long lines by using your PDA to order an electronic ticket and automatically select your seat. The airline’s on-line system checks identification via the “ID-tag” feature built into your PDA and confirms your reserved seat. You then use Bluetooth technology laptops, PDAs, and other devices to access your office or home-based servers via the airline server. Using voice-over IP, you also make “free” Internet voice calls courtesy of your airline.
- As you enter a theme park, a map of the park appears on your display. You can view the schedule of activities for the park, the rides, etc., and your own personal electronic tour guide is downloaded to your PDA.
Technology like Bluetooth will alter the way we live our everyday lives. It provides for total connectivity making it easy to communicate with just about everything. There are so many possibilities for this type of technology, and it will simplify many problems for us. We will all benefit from one standard that will make everything connect, and it is good to know that many of the top international companies have agreed on one system. Are you ready to surf from the sofa?
Author: David Jurus